A Refurbished Frontage

This morning, three men arrived to work on the driveway and frontage of the house. The old gravel had ceased to combat the weeds, and it was looking unloved and overgrown out there. Although the space is not large, there is room to park four cars when necessary, so far too big for me to tackle it. I had hit one side of the five-bar gate with my car, so that needed a new gate post.

The old shrubs had to go too. The climbing hydrangea on the house was encroaching into the brickwork and guttering, and the unkown type (to me) of other bush seemed to only serve as a ladder for spiders to get in through one of the spare bedroom windows. Under the front Oak tree, the raised bed had been invaded by brambles, the dwarf conifer had started to grow out instead of up, and I had let everything get into something of a shambolic state.

Using a company recommended by our next-door neighbour, it was arranged they would come today with a digger and sort out everything, replacing the sharp gravel around the front of the house with the kinder, more rounded version.

Exactly at at 8:30 as promised, the digger was unloaded from a trailer, and they set to with a vengeance. It is only two and a half hours later as I type this, and they have already removed the shrubs and plants, tidied the raised bed, and scraped away all the old gravel and dirt. One of them is preparing to replace the broken gate post, and another is sweeping and clearing away everything not needed.

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10:45, and the clearance is complete. The old gatepost has been removed, and they are preparing the cement for the new one.

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Just after midday, I took Ollie out for his walk. The prepared ground had been sprayed to keep down any weeds that grow back, and one of the men has taken the tipper truck to collect the gravel from Fakenham.

When I got back just before two, the gate was fixed and solid, and they were adjusting the fittings so that it cleared the deeper new gravel. Two-thirds of that new gravel had already been laid and levelled, and they were just waiting for the next load to come back in the tipper truck. The owner of the company told me that they will only be here for another thirty minutes once the last gravel is laid.

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I had other estimates for this work. One man wanted half the money up front, the other told me it would take two to three days, and the final price would depend on how long it took to complete. Both said I would have to have a skip for the debris, and pay for that separately. This man told me he would finish it in one day, and remove everything included in the price.

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14:30, work completed. Six hours after they started, including a short break for lunch.
Here is what it looks like. (There is no ‘before photo’ as I was too embarrassed to show it!

(The photos are Flickr links, and can be enlarged there by clicking on them.)

Driveway and side of house Dec 2021

The huge Oak tree in this photo is the one in our back garden.
P1060596

P1060597

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We didn’t even have to pay today, as we will get a bill by email next week. That’s what I call great service!

90 thoughts on “A Refurbished Frontage

    1. Thanks, Olga. One of the best things about living in a village is that people make recommendations for all kinds of contractors. And we can see the previous work too.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. That looks wonderful, Pete! I just completed an 8 month project (well, I didn’t, but the workers) on excavation behind my little house on a bluff, concrete, and a metal garage (my little house needed one). I was leery about some estimates and guarantees; but pleasantly surprised by how it all turned out. I don’t have a back yard like you, but I’m still happy about it all. I’m happy for you all! 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was rather wild and overgrown before they started, Maggie. Here in Beetly, the countryside surrounds us; across the road, and at both ends of the street. But the small housing estate is very well kept by each home owner. Until yesterday, we had the untidyest frontage in the street. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Pete, it really looks great. None of us can do everything to do with maintaining our homes ourselves. “other bush seemed to only serve as a ladder for spiders to get in through one of the spare bedroom windows” – hilarious, I had a good laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks good Pete, difficult to find tradesmen or contractors that actually deliver the expected result, best keep their name in the book of approved.
    Have a great Christmas (If I dont touch base before) and lets all look forward to 2022

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good to know there are still some enterprising and efficient people around. I wish I had someone like that to sort out my mess! These days it’s hard to get anyone interested in actual work and it seems as if you get more help from the government if you are unemployed, so what is the incentive? One would hope that people might have self-respect and a good work ethic, but society seems to be in general chaos. All the more credit to the chaps you found for your garden and chimney!

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    1. Although I hate Facebook, I have to give our local Facebookers credit for finding these guys through that platform. As well as the recommendation from our neighbours, they had a huge amount of positive posts on Facebook, and that made my wife (she’s on Facebook) suggest we try them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Good job. It’s always a pleasant surprise [even though it should be a forgone conclusion!] when tradesmen turn up when they say they will, and do a good job for a sensible price; I can say that as an ex-tradesman! Unfortunately, it’s always the smaller jobs which builders seem less keen on doing, but they’re the ones I tended to do. Cheers, Jon.

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    1. I very much have a ‘London mentality’ when it comes to tradesmen. I expect them to mess me about, then do a poor job at inflated prices. When something is as reliable and efficient as today’s driveway, I am still surprised. And that’s after almost ten years of living here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. We did consider tarmac at one time, but thought new gravel looked a little more in keeping with the area. 🙂 (Most people have brick-weave, but that was far too expensive for us.)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That looks great. Unfortunately we have a shared drive qnd when next door decided to have little bricks we had to have them too. I would never have chosen them, or the people he arraged to do the job. I was concerned when you said gravel as cars spray it about but I see you have avoided that. I hope you enjoy it and the loss of the spiders!
    Best Wishes, Julie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Julie. We thought about brick-weave, but it was quoted at more than three times the price of gravel. We are fortunate not to get too much displaced gravel, though if I park my car to the right of the concrete ‘runway’, (my wife Julie normally parks on that) I have sometimes had punctures caused by the weight of the car compressing it into the rubber.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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